Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban were all honored at the eighth annual CMT Artists of the Year event, which aired live on Wednesday night.
The show opened with Andra Day singing her hit song “Rise Up,” featuring Little Big Town.
All of the CMT Artists of the Year nominees took the stage to shed a light on all those who were affected by the hurricanes, wildfires and Las Vegas shootings. Danielle Bradbery, Lee Ann Womack and Common later joined Andra Day and Little Big Town for “Stand Up for Something.”
Following the opening performance, Lionel Richie took to the stage to talk share his love for nominee Luke Bryan, who performed his hit single, “Fast.”
Sam Hunt, who was unable to attend the show, was given the inaugural Song of the Year for “Body Like a Back Road,” which was presented by Bobby Bones. American Idol champion Phillip Phillips wowed the crowd with a soulful rendition of the song.
Brothers Osborne honored their buddy, Chris Stapleton, before he and his wife Morgane took to the stage to blow the crowd away by singing his current single “Broken Halos.”
Amy Grant helped pay tribute to those we have lost in the last year, including those who died in the Las Vegas shootings with a video that left the crowd speechless.
Vince Gill took the stage next, introducing his “little brother,” Keith Urban. He sang a stripped-down jazzy rendition of “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”
The Backstreet Boys made the crowd swoon as they payed tribute to their friends, Florida Georgia Line, by singing their hit song, “H.O.L.Y.”
Jason Aldean was introduced to the stage by his friend and fellow CMT Artist of the Year, Luke Bryan, who explained how incredible his buddy truly is. Jason concluded the night with a performance of the Tom Petty hit “I Won’t Back Down” alongside Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban and Little Big Town.